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Quality inclusive preschool education – For every child

NIKŠIĆ, 24 May 2018 – Mina is a three-year-old girl who, like every other child, likes to play with her peers, to run and jump and to get applause for every hurdle she jumps over. This, among other things, is possible thanks to the fact that Mina’s kindergarten in Nikšić, with UNICEF’s support, has been providing appropriate professional support for every child with a disability, from the earliest age.

Regional Director of UNICEF Afshan Khan and UNICEF Montenegro Representative Osama Khogali in an inclusive kindergarden in Niksic in May 2018 - UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2018

Mina’s experience in the kindergarten has helped her to become more skilled and more eloquent, says her mother Darinka Milić: "She is able to repeat every word she hears and to make sentences out of words, which was extremely rare before."

Mina and the other children in this kindergarten were also visited by the Regional Director of UNICEF for Europe and Central Asia, Ms. Afshan Khan. She expressed her satisfaction with the efforts made to ensure good-quality, inclusive, preschool education for every child.

"All children, including children with disabilities, have the right to education, the right to learn, to play and to be friends with other children in a safe environment. It is encouraging to see that Montenegrin kindergartens are working to provide good-quality, inclusive education," Khan said.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Arijana Nikolić Vučinić, reminds that inclusive education has been present in the Montenegrin educational system for two decades and emphasizes that ‘"Young Athletes” and “Early Intervention” represent programmes that have already had positive effects, and have been recognized as being beneficial by children, parents and educators, which gives us the strength to expand such programmes’.

These programmes are valued just as much by all Mina’s friends from the "Dragan Kovačević" kindergarten in Nikšić.

This is confirmed by Mira Rovčanin, whose two daughters attend them: "I can see that they are happy and I think that the programmes have taught them patience and persistence."

Regional Director of UNICEF Afshan Khan speaking to a girl from an inclusive kindergarten in Niksic in May 2018 - UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2018

The expert associate and special education teacher at this kindergarten, Predrag Ćosović, claims that progress was evident in all the children who participated in the programmes, as they all improved.

"As the months progressed, it was evident that they were much faster in completing the exercises. We have noticed that children developed patience and tolerance towards their peers who may be slower and who find it more difficult to complete some exercises that sometimes require team work," Ćosović explains.

Radmila Backović, the director of the Nikšić kindergarten, expects that such programmes will contribute to increasing the enrolment of children in preschool institutions and states that this should be "a call for parents to enrol their children in preschool, in order to provide them with equal opportunities for education".

The first years of life represent the most intense period of development of every human being. Enabling all children, especially those with disabilities, to realize all their potential and providing adequate early childhood support are of the utmost importance.



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